February 6, 2016
Doughnuts are the best. Not only are you deep-frying a little cake that comes in lots of flavors, you’re also eating it for breakfast. Capitol Hill (and Seattle in general) is suddenly blessed with a wealth of doughnut options beyond Top Pot (not that there’s anything wrong with Top Pot!). Now one can choose from Mighty-O, Rodeo Donuts (inside Cupcake Royale), and the newest contender, General Porpoise. I visited it on a recent rainy day (there was a long string of those, but this particular day was extra rainy) and the place was bright (note the pink espresso machine), busy, and dry.
I was able to share four doughnuts – three that my friend got (Plum, Lemon Curd, and Peaches and Cream) and one that I chose – the basic vanilla custard.
All the doughnuts at General Porpoise are filled, which I usually don’t prefer. But I was pleasantly surprised at the light dough and yeasty flavor, which balanced the dense, sweet filling. The plum filling was easily my favorite, and I ended up buying a jar of the plum jelly (they make all the fillings in-house). Also highly recommended was the standard vanilla custard:
There is everything to love about the creamy, fresh filling, and even a Boston-Cream distainer like myself has to acknowledge the greatness of General Porpoise.
January 25, 2016
The Standard Bakery, AKA Pocket Bakery, used to operate a pop-up in the Central District. Sadly, I didn’t make it there before they left to focus on their bread business and pop-ups at the Fremont and U-District Farmer’s Markets. Luckily for me, I got to sample their baked goods a few weekends ago at the U-District Market.
They have a nice selection of pastries, ranging from plain croissants to seasonal sweets. I went with the twice-baked blackberry croissant and the chocolate chip cookie. The croissant was the standout of the two (the cookie being too salty for my taste):
The true magic of the pastry was found in the interior, which had layers of buttery flakiness and blackberry preserves. The ends of the croissant were a bit dry and crunchy (maybe from the twice baking?) but overall it was a satisfactory snack.
January 11, 2016
This top-tier newish bakery has a neighborhood feel to it, making Greenwood one lucky neighborhood. Good luck getting a table now that folks have discovered the amazingly flakey, butter pastries Coyle’s Bakeshop has to offer. I started off with a croissant and brownie, along with a “few” caramels:
Caramels were soft and luxurious, croissant was like eating a cloud of butter-flour and the brownie was delightfully rich. Nothing, however, compared to the excitement that followed shortly after eating these appetizers. The scones came out of the oven and panic ensued:
These were the highlight – light, golden-crispy on the outside, steamy-moist on the inside, and all-round scrumptious. None of that bitter taste that comes from too much baking soda, these were pure heaven. Truly, this place is one of Seattle’s best.
December 20, 2015
Canal Market bills itself as a mercantile/cafe/bakery with an emphasis on fresh pastries and sandwiches. The reviewers on Yelp just call it an overpriced grocery store with terrible service. I wanted to see for myself so I stopped in one rainy morning for pastries, which were nicely arrayed on the butcher block counter.
The prices, while high, were typical for artisanal baked goods in Seattle (granted, I would not buy pantry goods here as they were pretty marked up). And the person at the counter was friendly, patient, and attentive. I chose the pumpkin muffin to start with:
This was a model muffin. Crispy, sugary top (and I loved the toasted pumpkin seeds), strong pumpkin flavor, moist interior. If I had stopped there I would have been in love with the place but unfortunately the second pastry I had ( the maple-glazed scone) was dry and overbaked (almost burnt). I only ate a few bites a left with a bitter taste. The moral of this tale of two pastries is that one should always order at least two desserts in case one just doesn’t cut it.
November 2, 2015
In “my” little stretch of Capitol Hill – 15th Ave E – there are now multiple places to buy (non-chain) freshly baked goods (Bakery Nouveau, Wandering Goose, and Ada’s are my favorites) including recently-opened Sugar Plum. Sugar Plum, part of the Plum restaurant collection, specializes in vegan desserts along with some gluten-free options. The interior is super cute but is strictly a take-away establishment:
The baking is done offsite but you can tell a lot of care goes into their work. The girl at the counter was friendly and patient as I took my time choosing – I was hoping they made their own ice cream but when I learned it was just Coconut Bliss I opted for an Oreo brownie and a pumpkin mini-pie. The brownie was okay but the pumpkin pie was a winner:
It had a nutty (albeit non-buttery) streusel topping and the filling was rich and flavorful without the baby food puree texture so many store-bought pies seem to have. The crust was fine for being of the non-butter variety, and I loved the cute addition of the chocolate leaf and little paper squirrel!
October 18, 2015
What used to be the Elliot Bay Bookstore is now Little Oddfellows (“Big” Oddfellows is next door) and it combines my two favorite things – books and desserts. There is a huge array of both – Elliot Bay is my favorite Seattle bookstore and Little Oddfellows is well on the way to becoming one of my favorite places for dessert (or avocado toast, if you’re into that). The pastries are creative (pop tarts!) and quality – it’s like your favorite French bakery but a little more quirky and with a more limited selection. And free wifi, books, bookish people… le sigh.
For breakfast I had the pop tart, lunch was the Oddfellows cookie, and for dinner I had the chocolate Nutella cake – a good day. Pictured above is the pop tart – nothing light the chewy, processed version I used to get from the grocery store as a (college) kid – although those are also good in their own way. This was light and flakey, like a pie crust made from croissant dough and filled with delicious (probably artisanal) fruit spread.
The cookie also on point, and it reminded me of the “compost” cookie at Momofuku in NYC – a little of everything. It was large, fresh and nicely textured. The cake was a real hazelnutty treat with moist chocolate cake, ganache topping, and toasted hazelnuts on top. The ganache/hazelnut action at the top of the cake made for the best bites. I will be back sooner rather than later for more books and baked goods!
October 2, 2015
Saying goodbye to summer means saying goodbye to many of my favorite farmer’s market vendors, but I thought I’d squeeze in one more round of highlights. The first vendor, Hawaii’s Donut, can be a little hard to track down. They don’t have a website, and their brick and mortar location in Northgate is closed. But they do have a Facebook page, and they’re worth seeking out at one of the markets and festivals they attend. Their specialty is a Portuguese donut called a malasada. They’re basically dense balls of fried dough filled with cream or jelly. They’re popular in Hawaii, but really they should be popular everywhere.
What I liked best about this place (which I found at the Fremont Sunday Market this summer) was the freshness of the dough. They fry it right in front of you so that the donut is still warm and moist, and the oil temperature seems pretty perfect. No soggy or stale donuts here!
Next up is the easier-to-find Honest Biscuits, which also has a new, permanent spot in Pike’s Place Market. Most of their biscuit options are savory, but I went salty-sweet by pairing a warm “Pike’s Place Biscuit” (biscuit with Beecher’s cheese cubes in it) with their jam.
I was really impressed – biscuit was the proper texture and the cheese chunks added a nice complexity to the whole concoction. Next I’ll be trying some of the savory sandwich options. So yes, I’m sad summer’s over, but on a positive note it means I’ll be checking out some of the many new bakeries that have popped up all over the city!
September 18, 2015
Summer’s wrapping up, but last month I was able to make it out to Issaquah for one last sunny summer market day. I posted a couple years ago about my friend Kelly’s ice cream stand – Cosmic Creamery – and on this visit I decided to take things up a notch by combining her ice cream with a Waffly Good Waffle. The result was better than the sum of two parts.
Waffly Good Waffles, based in Renton, makes their Belgian-style waffles right in front of you by hand and injects them with pockets of nutella and other yummy fillings. In case that wasn’t enough (and it’s NEVER enough) I took home a treat from the Irish Rose Bakery, which specializes in custom cakes but also sells more manageable treats at the market.
This market never disappoints, and I love their food truck selections. I will be back next summer!